The Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality (CALM) is calling all residents who are illegally connected to the municipal electricity network to visit the municipal offices.
According to the CALM spokesperson, Thapelo Phetla, the amnesty period which started on 6 July would end on Monday, 7 August. This grace period was given to give those residing in Carolina, Silobela and Emanzana an opportunity to make arrangements to in future pay for electricity.
“While this window of amnesty is open, those residents who are connected illegally will be connected correctly to the network so that they can start paying for electricity. Those who tampered with the connections have been given this chance to come forth and the Municipality will make sure their metres are set or fixed so that they can start paying.” he said. He commended some residents who came to their offices to declare tampering and illegal connection and said the Municipality was assisting them.
Illegal connections refer to any form of tampering resulting in electricity use without paying for it. The Municipality also urged the community to report any electrical network or item that is suspected to be a danger to society, such as unlocked electrical kiosks. Phetla said the amnesty would present a golden opportunity to strengthen the electrical network, improve its performance and reduce the distribution losses. Also, as the municipality we have an Indigent Policy to assist those who are unable to pay and are grant depended or child headed homes.
To register an illegal connection or tampering, residents are encouraged to submit a copy of their rates and taxes account, metre number and copy of ID to the Finance Department at 28 Kerk Street in Carolina, or the corner of Goodman and Robertson Streets in Emanzana.
Meanwhile, some residents claimed that they are connected illegally because the Municipality did not connect electricity to their area because they cannot afford to pay due to being unemployed. They also accuse municipal officials of reading the metres incorrectly and of ongoing load-shedding.
Lindiwe Ngomane from Emanzana said she saw the notice but was scared to approach the Municipality because she cannot afford to pay for or buy electricity since she is not working and depends on a social grant. “It’s not that easy to approach the Municipality since I have been using its electricity illegally for years. They might cut me off for good and if they pardon me, how will I be able to buy electricity since I do not have a job and the grant money is too small,” she said.